Alvarez Denies Conflict Of Interest In Koschman Case, Lineup Cops Sue Sun-Times
By Chris Bentley in News on Feb 1, 2012 5:40PM
In a court filing issued yesterday, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office denied any conflict of interest that would require appointing a special prosecutor to investigate the 2004 homicide of David Koschman, who died 11 days after a drunken confrontation with a group of Division Street revelers that included former Mayor Richard Daley’s nephew, Richard "RJ" Vanecko.
David Koschman's mother Nanci petitioned for the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate her son's death and the handling of the case by police and the State's Attorney's office. Yesterday’s 47-page response from Alvarez’s office brushed off that petition for its “systematic speculation” based largely on information reported in dozens of Sun-Times articles.
Alvarez was chief of staff to then-State’s Attorney Dick Devine when that office initially handled the case in 2004. Carol Marin of the Sun-Times called for Alvarez to recuse herself and call for a special prosecutor on these grounds, a request Alvarez dismissed. When Cook County Inspector General Patrick Blanchard tried to conduct his own investigation, he claimed that Alvarez blocked it.
Witnesses to the altercation contradicted police statements that Koschman was the instigator in the incident. Police closed the murder case without filing charges because witnesses couldn't identify Vanecko in a lineup, even though a re-investigation concluded that Vanecko threw the deadly punch.
Marin and others have questioned the validity of that lineup. After eight months spent seeking lineup photos, the Sun-Times obtained them in November. Now, five police officers have filed a federal lawsuit against the Sun-Times for publishing those photos. The officers, Scott Dahlstrom, Hugh Gallagly, Peter Kelly, Robert Shea and Emmet Welch, said in the suit that they “are gravely concerned for their safety.”